Time out for some shameless self-promotion from your erstwhile Third Banana blogmaster!
In a way, this is..
Some say that Electromatic Radio is the warm summer breeze that catches your back as you walk through the park. Others say that Electromatic Radio is the morning dew on the lawn that you mowed only the day before. Still others say that Electromatic Radio is the threatening message scrawled across your bathroom mirror in lipstick. All of these answers are correct...
Electromatic Radio is a science fiction comedy and music program written, produced, and performed by Aaron Neathery. Each program tells a complete story in three skits with two musical interludes. The ratio of original material to music varies as you can see in the following graphs:
Grey Grimwald, host of Electromatic Radio. A bellicose, short-tempered, hard-drinking, middle-aged veteran of the New York radio scene, although in what capacity is unknown as he seems to have little aptitude for announcing or anything else. Grey is a man utterly out of his element, helpless in the face of the bizarre and unexplainable, and emotionally unequipped to cope with the strange behavior of his only human co-worker, Matt Appleyard. But as much as his job and co-worker may drive him up the wall, he knows that he has nowhere to go but down and therefore tries very, very hard to reconcile himself to his new life. He's also a huge Mets fan.
Matt Appleyard, Electromatic technician. Chipper, bright, playful, energetic, and unspeakably irritating, Matt is the heart of Electromatic Radio. His days are spent tinkering with electronics, maintaining the station's supercomputer, munching on Necco wafers, and making his co-worker Grey's life a waking nightmare. What Matt does not do is his primary job of monitoring the broadcast, something he considers redundant as the broadcast is automated. This usually leaves the technically inept Grey in the position of not even knowing if he's on the air. Matt, a lifetime citizen of Drakesville, is several decades Grey's junior and formerly worked at the Sack-N-Carry, a local grocery store.
Evie (ElectroVac I). A huge analog computer designed to edit, compile, and broadcast 24 hours of programming a day. Powered, like the transmitter, by the station's small scale nuclear reactor, Evie is essentially the Electromatic Building's "brain", her "nerves" extending throughout the building in the form of sensors, cameras, and hidden microphones. Extensions of Evie include automated studios, a huge automated record library, and "broadcast control" booths for technicians to monitor her broadcasts. Evie is sentient and has a mercurial, mischievous, and rather insecure personality. Although capable of speaking limited pre-programmed phrases, she communicates with Matt primarily through a series of electronic tonalities which only Matt seems to understand. She absolutely does not like Grey.
Mr. Osborne, owner of Electromatic Radio. Never heard but frequently mentioned, Mr. Osborne is an extremely old man with, like Grey, a taste for the hootch. He has an office in the building but is almost always away.
As insignificant as it may be, Electromatic Radio has a rival station, the better-funded and organized Autotronic Radio, with which it competes for its tiny share of the Drakesville radio market. Autotronic's employees are unscrupulous cutthroats who will stop at nothing, even murder, to see Electromatic Radio eliminated. While there may be many more Autotronic employees, we are concerned with only three.
Cyrus Filtch, host of Autotronic Radio. A vicious, weaselly, abusive little Brooklynite with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Newton Dimbleby, Autotronic Radio technician. Cyrus's dimwitted lackey. An oafish stuffed shirt with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Professor Cassius Klatch, head of Autotronic R&D. A former coworker of Matt's from his days at the Sack-N-Carry. Neurotic and crazed, the Professor's deep-seated lust for revenge stems from his being passed over for employment at Electromatic Radio in favor of Matt. Hugely intelligent and deeply unhinged with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Electromatic Radio began life in late 2005 as Videomatic Electrovue, an experiment in television deconstruction; an anti-TV show with fictional limitations designed to inspire creative solutions as well as expose the mechanics of a medium that we all tend to take at face value. The visuals were pared down to a test pattern and video effects with audio carrying the bulk of the narrative. On paper, the concept for the program was also to involve a camera, locked in place, with a performance space of no more than a few feet, allowing for nothing more than hands, heads, small props, drawings, and puppets much like the earliest mechanical television experiments of the 1920s. For the audio, I would perform all of the characters and edit the dialog together line by line, saving the need for scheduling, rehearsing and directing a full cast. Two pilots were produced with my friend Lee Wilson as video editor and co-director but, unfortunately, the show turned out to be too complicated to produce on a steady basis and, worse, I couldn't find a venue for it. Left with an established production method for the audio, a concept, characters, and a handful of prepared scripts, I decided to convert the show into a radio program. The groundwork already laid, I quickly recorded three new pilot episodes and paid a visit to KPFT, Houston's Pacifica station, to see if it had a chance to air. Happily, program director Ernesto Aguilar felt it did and Electromatic Radio was added to the lineup of the station's new HD channel with a second station, KRFP in Moscow, ID, beating them to the punch.
Electromatic Radio is largely an exploration into a number of things that I find personally compelling; the feeling of wandering the abandoned hallways of your school after hours on the last day before graduating.. The eerie wonder of an abandoned building.. The comfort in the seeming permanence of that neighborhood business that holds its own against the big box stores.. The elegant simplicity of radio itself.. It's about independence, the joy of invention, of stewardship, friendship, paranoia, and dread. Electromatic Radio is about all of these things, but mostly it's about yelling.
If you're affiliated with a Pacifica affiliate station, the complete series can be accessed at www.audioport.org. If not, Electromatic Radio can be heard in Houston, TX, Monday afternoons at 3:30 on KPFT, 90.1 FM HD-2. It will be airing again in the Fall on KRFP 92.5 FM in Moscow, ID, new time to be announced, and will be webcast as well. An EMR podcast is being considered but, until then, here's a sample episode and three of the KPFT promos. Stay tuned!
KPFT Electromatic Radio Spot #1
KPFT Electromatic Radio Spot #2
KPFT Electromatic Radio Spot #3